I was supposed to write a book with Jay Lake.
Back in the day–I think, in fact, that it was the first (and somehow possibly only, but no, that can’t be right) time we met in real life, at World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs–this whole discussion about the speed with which Jay and I wrote came up. We got this idea to do some Stunt Writing: we’d get together someday and write a book together, ideally in the front window of, say, Borderlands in San Francisco, with a giant screen above our heads so that people could watch/read the book as it was being written. We’d trade off chapters and/or when we got stuck, and we’d aim to write the book in a week.
It’s been obvious for years that our stunt probably wasn’t going to happen, and yesterday morning the door shut on that project forever.
I didn’t know Jay tremendously well in real life, but I liked him very much. My deepest, most heart-felt sympathies go out right now to those who were closer to Jay than I was, because I know how magnified their loss and sorrow is compared to mine.
I think maybe one of the only good things about a death we see coming, especially in this net-connected era, is that people get a chance to tell the dying what they’ve meant to them, and with writers that can reach a long way. We’ve seen it happen repeatedly this past year: Iain Banks, Ann Crispin, and now Jay. If there’s any goddamn comfort to be taken at all here, it’s that they have gone carried by love.
I don’t like the phrase rest in peace, because to me it implies there’s something left to rest, and I don’t believe that. Neither did Jay. I prefer the idea that from stardust we came and to stardust we’ll go, which is ephemeral and eternal enough for me.
I sure wish it’d been a little less ephemeral, though. G’bye, Jay. We’re going to miss you.